A healthy resolution | VailDaily.com

A healthy resolution

Dr. Drew Werner

EAGLE COUNTY – Happy New Year! 2006 will be a wonderful year, in part because we can make it so. Hopefully, that will include making it smoke free. Like every year before, Santa arrived on Christmas Eve. The greatest gift comes unwrapped however, and are not found under the tree. Deacon Jay eloquently reminded us of that at Mass on Christmas Eve. I would like to hope that another unwrapped gift I am passing on is gift of being tobacco free.Dear Doc: I’m finally ready. I know I need to do it. What can you do to help me quit smoking?- Sick of Being Sick in EagleDear Sick of Being Sick in Eagle: Let’s look at what quitting will really do for you (taken from the American Cancer Society):Within 20 minutes:- Blood pressure drops to normal – Pulse rate drops to normal – Temperature of hands and feet increase to normalWithin eight hours:- Smoker’s breath disappears – Carbon monoxide level in blood drops to normal – Oxygen level in blood increases to normalWithin 24 hours:- Chance of heart attack decreasesWithin three days:- Breathing is easierWithin 2 to 3 Months- Circulation improves – Walking becomes easier – Lung function increases up to 30 percentWithin one to nine months:- Coughing, sinus congestion, fatigue, shortness of breath decrease – Cilia that sweep debris from your lungs grows back increasing your ability to handle mucus, clean the lungs, reduce infection – Energy increases Within one year:- Risk of coronary heart disease is half that of a smoker- You have saved over $1,000 if you smoke one pack per day!Within two years- Heart attack risk drops to near normalWithin five years- Lung cancer death rate for average pack-a-day smoker decreases by almost half nStroke risk is reduced – Risk of mouth, throat and esophageal cancer is half that of a smoker.Within 10 years:- Lung cancer death rate is similar to that of a person who does not smoke. – The pre-cancerous cells are replacedWithin 15 years:- Risk of coronary heart disease is the same as a person who has never smokedImpressive isn’t it! So, how to quit? After the commitment has been made, behaviors and habits changed and friends and family told, there is still that nicotine addiction. While it only lasts days to two weeks after the last cigarette is smoked, it can be pretty rough getting through it. The right thing for you is the help that works. There are a variety of over-the-counter products geared to help change habits, calm the addiction and focus on something other than the cigarettes you’ve just given up. Prescription medications come in two flavors. There are a variety of nicotine replacement products and Zyban. The nicotine patches help and increase your chances of quitting to 30 percent or more. The gum is especially good for people who chew tobacco. It is used by parking (like chew) between the cheek and gum and chewing it after the nicotine flavor disappears. There are nicotine inhalers, which work well for those with a need to keep the hands busy. With all of the nicotine replacement products, it is important to stop smoking before using them. Smoking in addition to taking some form of nicotine can lead to an overdose. Finally there is Zyban. It is the same medication as the anti-depressant Wellbutrin. It helps reduce stress and relieves the nicotine triggers in the brain. People who use it have a 40 percent greater chance of quitting than going it alone. Talk to our doctor to decide which is best for you.Whatever you decide, remember that if at first you don’t succeed, try, try again. Don’t concentrate on your failure if something doesn’t work. Instead learn from it and get ready to succeed the next time. There is no better resolution than doing something to improve your health. Make that resolution now and get excited to be a healthier person! Some additional resources to help are:U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Public Health Service National Institutes of Health: http://www.hoptechno.com/book43.htmBoston University School of Public Health: http://www.quitnet.com/American Cancer Society: http://www.cancer.org/docroot/home/index.aspNational Cancer Institute: http://www.nci.nih.gov/American Heart Association: http://www.amhrt.org/presenter.jhtml?identifier=1200000Office on Smoking and Health, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention:www.cdc.gov/Good Luck! I hope the resolve of the New Year stays with you all year through.Remember your health is your responsibility. Health is our greatest asset and it doesn’t happen by accident. If something doesn’t seem right, or questions are left unanswered don’t wait, call your doctor.Dr. Drew Werner of the Eagle Valley Medical Center writes a weekly column for the Daily. He encourages health questions. Write him by e-mail to editor@vaildaily.com or c/o Editor, Vail Daily, P.O. Box 81, Vail, 81658.Vail, Colorado

Support Local Journalism